Niemann sues Carlsen and others for $100mn — what happens next?
We’ll send you a myFT Daily Digest email rounding up the latest Chess news every morning.
Hans Niemann’s $100mn lawsuit against chess world champion Magnus Carlsen and others has already sparked many comments and evaluations of his chances of success. For interested readers, these Twitter threads by two experienced US lawyers examine the suit in detail.
Meanwhile, Fide’s Fair Play Commission is likely to publish its report on the controversy. It is expected to be critical of Carlsen’s withdrawal from last month’s Sinquefield Cup after his third-round loss to Niemann, and his subsequent statements implying that he believed that the teenager was cheating over the board as well as online.
Niemann’s tied fifth place in last week’s US Championship amid beefed-up security was a significant boost to his credibility as a genuine 2700-rated grandmaster in the world top 40, and thus by implication to his 250-point surge in two years, which had been questioned by the largest chess website chess.com.
That in turn could influence the tone of Fide’s report, and could have a knock-on effect on the court decision whether to dismiss the case or send it for trial.
Niemann’s lawsuit also claims that his chess career will in effect be over if his action fails, but this argument seems dubious. Following a contraction in recent years, there are currently only four elite tournaments left limited to top grandmasters and which would invite Carlsen — the Tata Steel tournament in Wijk aan Zee, Stavanger, the Sinquefield Cup in St Louis, and the Superbet Classic in Bucharest. They all have between 10 and 14 players, so Niemann at world No 40 would not be guaranteed a place anyway.
Niemann can still play in the Fide World Cup and Grand Swiss, each with more than 100 competitors, which qualify winners for the Grand Prix and the Candidates, leading directly to a world title match. He is eligible for strong invitationals in Cuba and Switzerland, for the US championship, for Fide world rapid and blitz championships, for team competitions, plus he can arrange individual matches.
Niemann’s lawsuit stated that Germany’s No1 Vincent Keymer had pulled out of a planned match with him, but there will surely be other opportunities for a grandmaster who has, in the course of just a few weeks, become the most famous US chess player since Bobby Fischer. The ultimate series for Niemann would be against Hikaru Nakamura, the streamer with 1.4mn followers who Niemann has named as being part of the conspiracy against him.
Meanwhile, Carlsen begins play on Tuesday 25 October (3pm GMT start, live and free to watch online) in the World Fischer Random Championship in Reykjavik, an event with painful memories for the No 1, who was crushed 13.5-2.5 by Wesley So in the 2019 final. So is defending his title, and the other favourites in the eight-player field are Nakamura and Ian Nepomniachtchi.
Zaven Andrisian vs Artem Gilyevich, PRO league 2019. White to move and win.